When the folks at JOANN emailed me to see if I’d like to work with them on a Halloween project, I literally screamed. JOANN was the first place I shopped when I started to sew, all the way back in college. Their aisles of fabric (and coupon deals) have always been there for me. So of course I said yes! I’m super excited to talk about my DIY mermaid costume with you today!
*this post is the result of a sponsorship with JOANN. however, all opinions are my own! thanks for supporting the brands that keep the sewing machine on here at maddie made this.*
DIY Mermaid Costume
Selecting a Pattern
When JOANN asked me to make a costume with a Yaya Han pattern, I was equal parts nervous and excited. Some of you may remember that I got my start sewing in college when I worked in the theatre department’s costume shop. Theoretically, costumes aren’t new to me! But I’ve also seen a million amazing cosplay costumes over the years, which is what Yaya’s patterns are geared towards in my opinion. I wanted to challenge myself to use one of her patterns to create a costume that would look great at a Halloween party or a Comicon!
McCall 7455 is the base of my DIY mermaid costume. I was sold once I saw all the variations I could get from that one pattern! On my first trip to JOANN, though, I still hadn’t decided what I wanted to make. My front runners were Wonder Woman/amazonian variation, or mermaid. This pattern would work for both, I think, but I was sold the second I stepped into the costume fabric aisle. I saw the gorgeous oil-slick fabric, and I knew I had to make a mermaid costume. Handily enough, the non-scale version was right above the first bolt: that’s the top sorted!
For the midriff portion, I used a nude lining I found in the athletic fabric section. Plus, I used a single layer of tulle underneath the skirt to give it a little extra pouf. Initially, I intended for the tulle to peek out at the bottom of the skirt. When I got it on, though, I realized I couldn’t give up the length in the top layer! #tallpersonproblems. Plus, I used a sweet light purple tulle that unfortunately makes my upper thighs look even paler than they are already. Ya girl does not need that.
Anywho — I made top view #3 and set out to make skirt #8 but ended up with a #9, basically. The pattern includes a couple croquis, so if you’re not sure what to make with your pattern: buy it and sketch it out!
Sewing Your DIY Mermaid Costume
Honestly, the toughest part of sewing this DIY mermaid costume is cutting out all the pieces! There’s a lot of them, but once you’ve done that, you’re basically flying. There’s nothing complex or tricky about this pattern. If you’ve put in pleats and an invisible zipper before, you’re good to go.
A word to the wise, though. If you use this oil slick fabric, buy yourself some tissue paper! This fabric has a knit back, but the front is smooth and tacky-ish. Does that make sense? It’s not actually sticky, but it doesn’t particularly glide. For the most part, I tried to sew it with the knit side up, which was not too hard. But for topstitching and other unavoidable moments, use tissue paper! Laying a sheet between the fabric and your sewing machine foot makes it move through the machine much more easily.
Other than that, the assembly is pretty easy! I love that the skirt is just pleats on pleats on pleats. There’s a lot of volume in it even without the underskirt! If you do go the underskirt route, I definitely recommend the tulle. I have semi-sensitive skin, and this doesn’t feel itchy at all.
Cosplay costumes can feel a little intimidating to the regular apparel/costume sewist. But I hope that this post showed you that they don’t have to be scary! It was so easy to adapt this pattern designed by a famous cosplayer to a regular ol’ Halloween situation. If you’re in the market for a Halloween costume, definitely check out Yaya’s pattern collection!
Do you have any Halloween costume plans? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!